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Donkin's World: Huns, Wops And Dagos At The Palace

...Edward Stourton, the BBC Today programme presenter, has recalled in his new book, It's a PC World, a conversation he had with the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, about the European Union.

She told him: "It will never work, you know....It will never work with all those Huns, wops and dagos."...

Author and journalist Richard Donkin tells of royal political incorrectness.

Do please visit Richard's well-stocked Web site
http://www.richarddonkin.com/

Details of his book Blood, Sweat and Tears which is acclaimed world-wide can be found here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2

Edward Stourton, the BBC Today programme presenter, has recalled in his new book, It's a PC World, a conversation he had with the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, about the European Union.

She told him: "It will never work, you know....It will never work with all those Huns, wops and dagos."

While he thought what she said was "nasty and ugly," concluding she was "a nasty old bigot," he has sought subsequently to put the remark in context, arguing that "The Queen Mother came from a generation when people did talk like that."

No, Mr Stourton, they didn't all talk like that. I cannot recall any of my grandparents using those words. Certainly my parents never used them. I recall once, when very young, asking my mother what the words "Wogs go home," meant. I had seen them daubed on a bridge. My mother simply said that "wog" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wog was a nasty word for "coloured people".

It's true that her generation did not try to make politically correct references that distinguished people from different ethnic backgrounds, hence the "coloured" reference. I remember it was a problem in local newspapers. At the Huddersfield Examiner discussions with local ethnic groups led to a policy of referring to the two main ethnic groups as "black" or "Asian" and I have stuck with that ever since, never feeling quite comfortable with phrases such as "Afro Caribbean" or "Afro American".

I would love to report that the most derogatory terms had been abandoned but I still hear such words occasionally today among the older generation. I have one shooting friend, a contemporary, who refers to black people as "jigaboos" http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=jigaboo and another who suggested jokingly to a slightly dark skinned mutual friend that there was a "bit of the tar brush" about him.

I suppose that certain "naming" to denote racial difference will be something we shall always have to live with. I have heard it argued that those black people who voted for Barack Obama principally because of his race were being racist in their choice. If so, could this be an acceptable defence of racism in certain circumstances? I can understand any black American choosing Obama for historical reasons.


I wasn't at all surprised to hear about the Queen Mother's language. The royals have form, particularly her son-in-law.

Some of Prince Philip's less than PC remarks have been collected in a book of gaffs http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2006/05/31/philip-book.html that includes the following:

* To a British student in China: "If you stay here much longer, you will go home with slitty eyes."
* To a British student in Papua New Guinea: "You managed not to get eaten then?"
* To a British tourist in Hungary: "You can't have been here that long you haven't got a pot belly."
* To a Scottish driving instructor: "How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?"
* To Australian Aborigines: "Do you still throw spears at each other?"
* While on a factory tour, looking at a crude electrical fitting, he suggested it might have been "installed by an Indian."

Funnily enough the Duke of Edinburgh is so broadly politically incorrect that at least he can claim consistency. I have met him a couple of times and can confirm that he behaves the same with everyone. In fact I'm sure his children have suffered his tongue and Prince Charles probably more than the rest, which would explain why Jonathan Dimbleby's authorised biography of Charles portrayed the duke as an authoritarian bully.

Whatever the truth of this, I can imagine Prince Philip would have hit it off with his mother-in-law. They spoke the same language.

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